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Do you ever mixup your langauges?
מפרסם התגובה: DavidMTucker (X)

DavidMTucker (X)
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Local time: 17:31
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Jul 7, 2012

Just curious, and hoping of course that I am not the only one, but I find that I sometimes inadvertently mix up my languages. Luckily this has never happened during an interpreting session, but has happened in other areas. In other words, you are thinking in one language and the words are coming out in the other language and you have no clue this is happening until someone says something.

Hoping all are having a good day.

David Martin Tucker (Spanish Interpreter)


 

Luis Cerna  Identity Verified
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Local time: 02:31
חבר (2006)
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Booth or not booth? Jul 7, 2012

At the university we did learn some tricks to avoid the problem in the booth, but out of the booth and working alone it may happen some times.

 

Lina Elhage-Mensching  Identity Verified
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Local time: 02:31
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Mixup Jul 7, 2012

Quite often, hopefully not in the booth

 

Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:31
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'Fraid so Jul 7, 2012

I've never done interpreting in a booth, being basically a "consecutive" interpreter. Generally I manage to keep it right during the actual 'working hours', but often find myself mixing both languages if I'm also dealing with meal table conversations!

At home it's almost always a mix of both depending on which phrase springs to mind first, and half the time we don't know we're doing that until we get a monolingual guest who asks what's going on...
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I've never done interpreting in a booth, being basically a "consecutive" interpreter. Generally I manage to keep it right during the actual 'working hours', but often find myself mixing both languages if I'm also dealing with meal table conversations!

At home it's almost always a mix of both depending on which phrase springs to mind first, and half the time we don't know we're doing that until we get a monolingual guest who asks what's going on Likewise when sleeping, (since I'm also prone to talk in my sleep), it comes out as a real mix
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neilmac  Identity Verified
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Local time: 02:31
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Yes Jul 7, 2012

Doesn't everyone?

 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
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Not everyone. Jul 7, 2012

No mixup; it does not happen to me.

 

macimovic
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Local time: 02:31
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Yes Jul 7, 2012

Totally the way you described it haha.

 

Giulia Carletti  Identity Verified
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חבר (2012)
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you're not alone! Jul 8, 2012

I know I'm still a "junior" interpreter so maybe it's more common at this stage, but sometimes it has happened to me, too.
A few weeks ago I was doing chouchoutage into Spanish and luckily I realized I was about to utter a sentence in English before I opened my mouth =)


 

DavidMTucker (X)
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Local time: 17:31
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TOPIC STARTER
I see I am not alone.... Jul 8, 2012

I have never mixed up languages while interpreting, and I think that is due to being so concentrated on the task at hand. When I do mix-up one language for the other, it happens normally under two conditions --when I am relaxed and really not concentrating on what I am saying, or when I am in a hurry and it seems like the world is moving at a snails pace.

Hoping all are having a great weekend!


David Martin Tucker (Spanish Interpreter)


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
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Local time: 21:31
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Only passive ones Jul 8, 2012

I studied both IT and FR for in my teen years, never used them often, however I'm still able to communicate in either one fairly well. Then I learned ES by sheer osmosis in my 30s. It always amazes me how fluently I can speak ES without ever having sat through a formal class. However this had its price.

I discovered that IT and ES probably share a common memory space in my brain. It doesn't matter how long ago I used either one, sometimes years, it lingers. So If I last spoke IT, sa
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I studied both IT and FR for in my teen years, never used them often, however I'm still able to communicate in either one fairly well. Then I learned ES by sheer osmosis in my 30s. It always amazes me how fluently I can speak ES without ever having sat through a formal class. However this had its price.

I discovered that IT and ES probably share a common memory space in my brain. It doesn't matter how long ago I used either one, sometimes years, it lingers. So If I last spoke IT, say, one year ago, when a situation arises that I suddenly have to speak ES, I begin with a strong IT influence, which takes half or one hour to subside. And then the reverse effect works exactly the same.

I also found out that my brain's limit for languages had been reached, only five. I tried a very basic DIY course in DE using audio tapes and some electronic contrivance, and was unable to go beyond lesson #4. I was sort of disappointed, as the uncle of a friend of mine spoke flawlessly over a dozen languages.

I never mix my working languages, EN-PT. I can mediate a business meeting switching back and forth between them for hours in a row, and I won't mix them. However I have a physical pitfall.

An American journalist who has been living in Brazil for a few decades defined it as the "embouchure" for a specific language. In fact, though it's something one may intuitively acquire, I see it as a must to speak any language without a foreign accent. That journalist said that he noticed that when he met an old American friend of his, who remarked that, after having spoken mostly Portuguese for so many years, his physiognomy had changed.

So while I'm involuntarily switching my so-called embouchure back-and-forth very quickly between EN and PT, after I've done it probably a few hundred times, I suddenly bite my tongue - hard! - on the right side during a shift, and it hurts... badly! ... and the pain serves me as a constant reminder to slow down. Can't help it, happens every time.

One puzzling thing is that the embouchure in EN is apparently very close to ES, so it seems much easier to switch between accent-free EN and ES, though I'd have no idea on which variant of ES I'd be referring to, as my ES acquired by osmosis is a nondescript mix of at least half a dozen variants, not geographically assignable. Also, I'm referring to EN-US, as I completely 'unlearned and erased' my originally learned EN-UK back in 1975.

Phrenologists could have a field day with my musings on this subject.

[Edited at 2012-07-08 13:37 GMT]
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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
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Local time: 08:31
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In complex situations Jul 8, 2012

This happened to me in the booth when I was training a couple of times. I've done very little simultaneous since then, so not in real booth interpreting.
In consecutive it has happened when the situation is more complex than the client-talks-I-speak basic. In meetings where there are some bilingual and some monolingual people present, or there's also a third language being used, yes, it has happened to me once or twice that I start a sentence in the wrong language without realising it.


 

Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 17:31
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You are certainly not the only one Jul 11, 2012

Hello David!

Here is a very embarrassing story which, I hope, will make you feel better:

In the beginning of my interpreting work, I did mostly Spanish interpreting and hardly any Russian. Then, a day came when I was asked to interpret Russian on a deposition.

The deposition started. The attorney asked a question, I face a Russian speaking witness and start interpreting - into Spanish! It took me a few seconds to realize what a blunder it was and to start
... See more
Hello David!

Here is a very embarrassing story which, I hope, will make you feel better:

In the beginning of my interpreting work, I did mostly Spanish interpreting and hardly any Russian. Then, a day came when I was asked to interpret Russian on a deposition.

The deposition started. The attorney asked a question, I face a Russian speaking witness and start interpreting - into Spanish! It took me a few seconds to realize what a blunder it was and to start interpreting into Russian.

Do you feel better yet?
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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
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Local time: 01:31
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Pity Jul 11, 2012

To see that the OP is already "xxx". He seemed like a decent guy and was very active on the forums despite being a new user.

 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
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Local time: 17:31
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A native Russian speaker doing mostly ENG-SPA interpreting first? Jul 11, 2012

Alexandra Goldburt wrote:

In the beginning of my interpreting work, I did mostly Spanish interpreting and hardly any Russian.



Somewhat off topic, but your profile indicates that you are a native speaker of Russian, but initially you mostly did Spanish interpreting?

Please do not get me wrong, I do not doubt your words, it is just that it seems kind of funny.

[Edited at 2012-07-12 14:54 GMT]


 

Neirda  Identity Verified
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Never so far, but Aug 21, 2012

One year from now, I went to Spain on vacations, and was surprised to find myself pouring Chinese whenever I actually wanted to communicate in Spanish (which I stopped learning in high school). It was coming as a reflex, and I have no theory so far about what kind of brain pattern led me to this confusion.

I am not an interpreter so I can't really state if it would happen to me in the field, but whenever I had casual discussions with several group of people that didn't share the sa
... See more
One year from now, I went to Spain on vacations, and was surprised to find myself pouring Chinese whenever I actually wanted to communicate in Spanish (which I stopped learning in high school). It was coming as a reflex, and I have no theory so far about what kind of brain pattern led me to this confusion.

I am not an interpreter so I can't really state if it would happen to me in the field, but whenever I had casual discussions with several group of people that didn't share the same language, it never happened to me so far to get mixed up.
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